I’m here to quit

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By Lani Young


I did the Samoa Triathlon Digicel Extraordinary 5k Fun-run today (yesterday). 

I was only there to #goodWife support that man who lives in the same house as me, because he’s the VP of the Samoa Triathlon Federation and today’s Race Director. My devious plan was to stop at the 2.5k mark where the kid’s race stopped, and pretend I needed to assist one of my children to the finish line. 

BUT, I power #fastWalked the whole thing and did it in about 40+ min. Didn’t stop, didn’t waver.

What happened to my devious plan? Lots of people got in the way and ruined it. It’s all their fault I finished the 5K.

I saw Audrey Brown-Pereira and her awesome husband Ben powering through the whole 5k, and Audrey smiled at me every time we passed each other and she looked so happy that I felt bad about even thinking of sneaking out. 

Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale went past me and said, “Don’t quit! Keep going, you can do it.” (It was like he could READ MY LAZY MIND!)  My friend Maylani Ah Hoy was with me and I couldn’t disappear while she was looking because at the start of the race, she’d said very loudly, “I told everyone I have to come to the 5K because you invited me and I promised I would come.” Maylani takes her commitments very seriously. 

I’m much less committed. But she was right there next to me, so I was forced to keep walking. 

There was a mum, Delina Greentree, doing the fun run, pushing her baby in a stroller and how could I justify feeling ‘too tired to go on’ when I had no baby to carry, only had my size-never-mind self to push along the route? 

At the water stop, cheery volunteers said lots of encouraging things, like, “Fa’amalosi! Push it. Only one more lap to go.” Which was nice of them, but also annoying because I wanted to hear, ‘you look exhausted. Why don’t you sit here in the shade and have a sleep?’ Or better yet, ‘That’s more than enough fun run for today. Go home. Have some ice cream.’

My personal trainer from MmaxFit gym, Caroline Hunt was there, and I knew she would give me that frown if I finished the run early, and probably say, “Come on, I know you can do a little bit more than that. Don’t roll your eyes at me.”  (Supposedly, I roll my eyes a lot and make #yuck faces when I’m at the gym.)

Children kept zipping past me. Some of them were mine. They cheered loudly and said, “Come on mum, you can do this!” Against my better judgement, I started to believe them. Plus I didn’t want to look like a loser in front of my kids. So I kept going. There was a DJ at the main tent station, playing my favorite songs and every time I walked by that section of the route, I had to fight the urge not to start dancing. Instead, I put that vibe into walking a little faster. 

The police were there. Keeping an eye on everyone and ensuring the route was safe. 

On my last lap to the roundabout at Mulinu’u, a policeman on a bike with flashing lights drove along-side me for a bit. By then, I was feeling a little lightheaded. 

A tempting voice whispered in my head, ‘You should slow down. Stop and rest. What if you get dizzy and faint on the road? Come on…slow down. Nobody cares if you stop walking…’ I don’t know if other people doing fun runs ever hear voices in their heads from the JUST QUIT Brigade, but I do. 

They’re quite loud voices and insistent too. A bit like a Voldemort whisper giving you a Harry Potter scar headache. 

But I was able to shut down the voices because of the police motorbike. I figured, if I did get too dizzy to continue, the nice policeman would give me a ride on the bike and zip me away to the First Aid tent. 

Finally, I reached the finish line. 

Quite against my plan, and quite against my will. Thanks to a whole lot of people who just wouldn’t let me quit like I wanted to. 

Because of them, I finished the race feeling rather good about myself and my power-walking achievement. Because of them, I might even want to do another fun run. And when I do, it will be all their fault.

This is the thing about a community focused fun run. Everyone is in it together. Organizers, volunteers, spectators and participants, police and DJ’s. We are all there supporting each other, no matter how young or old, no matter how fast or slow. Are some people there to race and win? Sure. And when they fly by, we all clap and cheer them on. Many others of us are there to have fun, to enjoy getting active – and to make sure everyone finishes the race. 

Even if we started with a plan to quit!

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